The Gist

The Presidency is Impossible

How the world changed the presidency and doomed the office to failure.

President Donald Trump walks across the south lawn upon returning to the White House in Washington on Sept. 10.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 841 of Slate’s The Gist:

Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed ∙ DownloadPlay in another tab
Slate Plus
members: Get your ad-free podcast feed.

Before the Cold War, the president spent most of his time focusing on long-term problems facing the nation. But ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president has had to devote more time to immediate crises than overarching strategy. Author Jeremi Suri explains how the office of the president has changed so drastically—and whether there’s any way for occupants to succeed now. Suri’s new book is The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office.

In the Spiel, more ways to think about gun reform.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Twitter: @slategist